Kyudo and Astrology

Ignore the target, master the process

Kyudo is the ancient Japanese martial art of Archery. It’s not about hitting the target, in fact, the main tenet of the practice is to do the process correctly and ignore the target. In other words, the focus is entirely on the holding and drawing of the bow, the breath, the stance and the other precise steps that lead up to the release of the arrow. According to the masters of the art, it’s the correctness of the practice, not the aim that enables the arrow to hit the target.

There are probably a million quotes that repeat the theme that life is a journey, not a destination. Too many of us are rushing to one destination after another, instead of enjoying the journey, where true happiness is to be found. A person who is an expert at their craft is always someone who enjoys practicing it, whether they are programmers, musicians, cabinetmakers, chefs or astrologers. Even in the world of business, having one lucky break is not the same thing as being successful, any more than darning a sock makes one a tailor.

In Kyudo, the archer takes three sequential shots. If they do everything perfectly, all three arrows will land in the same small area of the target. Rather than focusing on aim, the focus is on the preparation and release; the target is only a passing thought. The principle is that if the motions are done in exactly the same way each time, each arrow should go to the same place every time. To the Japanese, mastery is not about doing something well once, mastery is about doing something well every time you do it. You may have seen pictures of the masters looking away before releasing the arrow, knowing the process has been done properly.

If I am given a question that requires analysis by Horary astrology, I have learned not to worry about getting the wrong answer. I have learned to follow exact steps for preparing the answer; I take the planet in charge of the Ascendant or the Moon (under certain circumstances dictated by the nature of the client and question) and study it’s relationship to the significator of the question, then see if there are other chart conditions that are of immediate relevance to the questions (lots, fixed stars, etc.) and pronounce the judgment of the stars. What the chart is saying is all that matters. That’s all there is to it. The craft is specific and has its own set of internal rules that work very well, until you allow yourself to believe that you have a better answer than the one described before you. When the practitioner follows the steps properly, the chart speaks loudly and clearly. When the practitioner is trying to force an outcome, that outcome is a matter of luck. They used to call this interrogating the stars. No one ever called the craft interrogating the practitioner.

As in Kyudo, there is a process to walking through the chart, so when I release its judgement, I am letting the arrow fly. I do not have to have faith in the planets, or believe that everything is predestined, or engage in a dialog about synchronicity or the transactional theory of quantum mechanics. The Horary art (IMHO) is about letting all of that go, and doing the process carefully enough to “check in with myself” to make sure I’m sticking with the protocol. If I do it right, I get it right. An since I realized this, I almost always do.